Already some years ago, in a different position my boss asked me to train a new junior colleague intensively. I had a weekend to think about the how to and started on Monday. I did not know a lot about her before.

Back then she was the second person I trained, but the situation is completely different: The last time I had to do it when all other direct colleagues were either sick or in vacation. The workload was incredibly high. Therefore, I delegated some topics to the assistants, but how do I train her when I have the go to take time and concentrate on her?

How should I train her? What do I have to consider? Where should I start? Let the adventure begin.

Level of Knowledge and the theory

Break into the new Employee to find out the Best way of Training.

In the beginning, I talked to her, what she did before. I tried to find out her basis of knowledge. As next steps I was challenging her, to see her capabilities and potential and her reaction on stress. I tried to analyze her intellectual capacities.

In the beginning I set a framework and explained her the work environment. Targeted questions in between showed me, if she understood. I tried to enter her thoughts and her way of understanding to be her a great coach. There is not only one method of coaching that is the best way for every employee. Everyone has a different background, different level of training, different interests, talents and intellect. At first, I wanted to analyze the status.

My main target: Find the best method for teaching her theory and practice.

From Theory to Practice in High-Speed

Connecting Theory and Practice makes you actually truly understand the Topic.

The good thing at work is that you can always show real life examples in what you teach. Our topics the first weeks were: Funding of Projects, Incorporation, ad hoc Reporting and General Guidelines.

In the beginning, I showed her requests and gave her a bit theory. I told her about the background to show her the context and asked her what to do. Of course, she did not know exactly what to do, but I opened her mind. The context was in her head. She thought about what might come and when we did each step slowly together, she connected different topics. This is a method I used for studying Civil Engineering and for the Business on my own in IT branch as well: Connecting theory and practice directly.

Be open to adopt the Difficulty

Target your Way of Coaching and Mentoring on the Receiving Person, otherwise you will miss her.

The next time I left the context. I directly asked her about what to do. The third time she should directly show me how she would do. In between, I always asked her questions to see, if she really understands or if she was just repeating the steps. She was learning quickly, why I started to change the difficulty.

I opened some ad hoc requests that were waiting in the e-Mail-entrance and told her, they need to be solved urgently. Analyzing her stress resistance was my Target here. This is why I also jumped between the topics some times, just to see, if she can follow. To me it means that she understands the cases as well as the background, if she can still answer the questions. She followed very well. It seemed that she could handle some load.

The “How to coach (or train) and mentor (or teach) the new employee” is the key to success from my point of view. Either it is oriented in the capacities and needs of the target person, or you might miss your target, what aims in mistakes and dissatisfaction and is more expensive for the company than taking sufficient time.

Do not forget the human part

Feedback talks give the Chance for each side to Enhance. Take time for this and your Team will say thank you for this with better Results.

One important topic (beside the mentoring and coaching) that I learned the best from my past leaders, are the Feedback talks. We went once in a week into the lounge. I told her some hours before to prepare for the Feedback. We both will give each other Feedback. This helped me on the one hand, to understand her needs. It showed me points to enhance, but also the points that already work with her. She on the other hand received my opinion. I told her what she did well or bad.

Before we start with the Feedback talks, I just asked her the following, to ease the atmosphere:

– Please give your honest opinion.
– How do you feel?
– How do you feel in the team so far?
– Do you think you can follow me?
– What disturbs or supports you in the team, not considering me?
This is important to make sure: The work Environment fits her needs.

In the next step I asked her, to remember the last week(s). She should tell me, what I could enhance and what she thinks supports her needs good. I asked her, which topics she needs more input, from her point of view and what she wants to know more about.

Of course, I also gave a Feedback to her, based on situations and not on Feelings, based on what I recognized.

Important for Feedback talks: The Feedback Rules

Rules for the Feedback Taking Person

– The Feedback giving person is talking. The Feedback receiving person does not interrupt.
– He/she listens and tries to understand. There should not follow discussions or questions.
– The listener thinks about what he/she hears and tries to understand and accept the Feedback.
– This is his/her chance to enhance. Do not take it from him/her.

Rules for the Feedback Giving Person

Feedback is the Opportunity to describe clearly and precisely what the Feedback Giver has recognized and the Feedback Taker can optimize.

– The Feedback giving Person formulates the points clearly and precisely.
– He/she gives an accurate argumentation.
– A descriptive language should be used. It is important to stay neutral and describe the Feedback. Evaluations or moral convictions have no space here.
– He/she tells about, what he/she has watched, not what he/she guesses or interpret.
– The Feedback giving Person is precise and does not talk in general.
– And the Feedback giving Person talks about things that he/she thinks the Feedback taker can optimize. Everything else is nonsense.

To sum up: The three Key Factors of Training

To Find the best way of Mentoring and Coaching as well as to offer regular Feedback are important to successfully introduce New Employees into Your Team.

From my point of view, it is important to understand the need and the situation and potential of the person I am training. Beside Theory and practice, we are still human, available to change and enhance. We have the need to talk about topics. We want to be seen as an individual with strengths and weaknesses. For me it is important to give and take Feedback inside the team.

I see in general three Levels or Key Factors for Training new colleagues:
1) Find the best way of Mentoring.
2) Find the best way of Coaching.
3) Offer regular Feedback talks.

This is also the way I am training new colleagues now. New colleagues can complete the team, so give them the best possible environment. Make them feel welcome and not lost in their position. Promote their Talents and your Team will be successful.

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47 Comments

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